The Urgent Call to Action on Food Waste in Malaysia

Ajinomoto Malaysia wants to reduce food waste in Malaysia (illustration)

The Urgent Call to Action on Food Waste in Malaysia: A Global Imperative


Food waste in Malaysia is a significant global issue that affects economies, societies, and the environment. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximately one-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted, amounting to about 1.3 billion tons annually. This is a staggering figure, considering that millions of people around the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Food waste not only represents a moral and ethical challenge but also has serious environmental and economic consequences. To address this critical issue, there is an urgent need for coordinated action at local, national, and international levels.


Understanding the Problem

Food waste occurs at various stages of the food supply chain, from production and processing to distribution, retail, and consumption. In developed countries, a significant portion of food waste happens at the consumer level, often due to factors such as over-purchasing, improper storage, and cosmetic imperfections. In contrast, in developing countries, food waste tends to occur primarily at the production and distribution stages due to inadequate infrastructure, lack of storage facilities, and poor transportation systems.


The environmental impact of food waste is substantial. When food is wasted, all the resources that went into producing it, including water, land, energy, and labor, are also wasted. Moreover, decomposing food waste in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. According to the FAO, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the United States.


The Economic Cost

In addition to its environmental impact, food waste also has significant economic consequences. The FAO estimates that the direct economic cost of food waste is around $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. This includes the value of the food itself, as well as the costs associated with transportation, storage, and disposal. Moreover, food waste represents a missed opportunity for economic growth and poverty reduction, as the resources used to produce wasted food could have been used to feed people, create jobs, and stimulate economic development.


The Social Dimension

Food waste also has important social implications, particularly in terms of food security and equity. While millions of people around the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, vast amounts of food are being wasted. According to the World Food Programme, about 690 million people, or 8.9% of the world’s population, go to bed hungry every night. Addressing food waste is therefore not only a matter of environmental and economic sustainability but also of social justice and equity.


The Call to Action

Given the scale and complexity of the problem, addressing food waste requires a coordinated and multi-faceted approach. Governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and consumers all have a role to play in reducing food waste and promoting more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Here are some key strategies and initiatives that can help tackle the issue:


1. Policy Interventions

Governments can play a crucial role in reducing food waste by implementing policies and regulations that encourage waste reduction and promote more sustainable food systems. This can include measures such as:


– Setting Targets: Governments can set targets for reducing food waste at the national and local levels, and develop strategies and action plans to achieve these targets.

– Regulating Date Labeling: Standardizing and clarifying date labeling on food products can help reduce consumer confusion and prevent unnecessary food waste.

– Promoting Food Recovery: Governments can support initiatives to recover surplus food from farms, businesses, and households and redistribute it to those in need.


2. Investment in Infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure such as cold storage facilities, transportation networks, and food processing facilities can help reduce food waste by improving the efficiency and reliability of the food supply chain. This is particularly important in developing countries, where food waste often occurs due to inadequate infrastructure.


3. Public Awareness Campaigns

Raising awareness about the issue of food waste and promoting behavior change among consumers is essential for reducing food waste at the household level. Public awareness campaigns can help educate consumers about the environmental, economic, and social impacts of food waste, as well as provide practical tips and guidance on how to reduce food waste at home.


4. Innovation and Technology

Advances in technology and innovation have the potential to revolutionize the way we produce, distribute, and consume food, and reduce food waste in the process. For example, new packaging technologies can help extend the shelf life of food products, while smart food storage systems can help consumers keep track of their food inventory and reduce spoilage.


5. Collaboration and Partnerships

Addressing the issue of food waste requires collaboration and partnership among governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and consumers. By working together, stakeholders can share knowledge, expertise, and resources, and develop innovative solutions to reduce food waste and promote more sustainable food systems.



Food waste is a complex and multifaceted issue that has serious environmental, economic, and social implications. Addressing this issue requires a coordinated and multi-faceted approach involving governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and consumers. By working together, we can reduce food waste, alleviate hunger and malnutrition, and create a more sustainable and equitable food system for future generations. The time to act is now.

#food waste in Malaysia
#Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad

Note: In 1961, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad began as a manufacturer of AJI-NO-MOTO® Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). It is among the first Japanese businesses to be established in Malaysia. Since then, Ajinomoto (Malaysia) Berhad has developed into a vibrant food and seasoning company with a wide range of brands that Malaysians have trusted for decades. Our AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami seasoning is now a staple in almost every home.

Based on the company motto “Eat Well, Live Well,” the Ajinomoto Group will use “AminoScience” to improve the wellbeing of all people, our society, and our planet.

We pledge that to our clients. We will mainly use the power of amino acids in our work to make tasty meals, enhance physical health, and encourage growth, development, and recovery.

The Ajinomoto Group will keep helping people with our goods and services, rising to new challenges to make every day more delectable and pleasant.

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